The Relationship Issue, Part 4

Spring is in the air…

…and Molly the Cat has a suitor. He hangs around the house night and day, lurking, prowling, and howling. He is a young black and white alley cat, previously only interested in our food. Molly is an indoor/outdoor cat, a former girl of the streets, and she values her freedom. She is used to going out whenever she wants to, but she is not interested in a relationship, and he is relentless.

I have a theory that no woman can withstand a determined, unwavering seige, and he is certainly mounting one, but Molly the Cat seems equally determined to remain virginal. The sounds her male visitor makes are startlingly human, and more than once I have rushed to see if someone is strangling a baby outside my back door. She is disgusted by his calling. She says she might consider him — he is rather attractive, in a scruffy sort of way — but he acts so needy.

I know how he feels, and I doubt if things would work out. He is a ramblin’ cat. She couldn’t keep him forever. Oh, he tells her he is ready to settle down, and maybe he even believes it. But he is looking for that first contact, nothing more.

Is there anything sweeter than the anticipation of those early touches, at first so casual? Maybe your knees bump under a table, or your hands brush together as you share a menu. And can any kiss, as long as you live, match the thrill of the First Kiss? The tantalizing softness of those lips as they touch yours for the first, tentative time. The shudder that runs through your body as that other body begins molding to yours, pressing gently and urgently to you.

Don’t we want that fleeting moment to last? We try to go back there every time, every night, but the first time can only happen once. Some will wander, trying to find it again, that electric thrill, and maybe they’ll find it. Maybe, like this fevered tomcat outside right now, they will think they have found it, the Fountain of First Touches.

And maybe, after a bit, they will have to move on again, down the alley to the next dark place, to continue the search.

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The Relationship Issue, Part 3

Who’s got the Power?
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

I made the mistake of telling someone, a woman, one who says she is shy, one whom I do not know in person (you know who you are), that when it comes to the man/woman thing (relationships, dating, hooking up), that she has all the power. Not content merely to stick my foot in my mouth, I went further and counseled her to “use it for good,” thus making it seem that I knew exactly what I was talking about.

Now, I think I’m right, or I wouldn’t have said anything. I mean, if you leave out the serial rapist and the brutal numbskull, and include only normal guys who harbor the wish to love and be loved, and to do right, whether they are aware of this wish or not, within this group — and I believe this is by far the largest group of males in the world, so large that a woman might go through her entire life meeting only this type of man — you would find it safe to say that men have ceded control to women in matters of the heart. Personal experience and long observation make me pretty sure I am right about this. Someone’s in charge of these matters, and it ain’t the boys.

Sadly, though, The Power is is elusive and magical, and I don’t have the authority to confer it on anyone. I feel now like the Wizard of Oz, the old fraud, caught behind the curtain, manipulating the levers and dials of a cheap illusion, and forced to admit that I am no more a wizard than you, or you. One thing I promise, though: I won’t hand you a diploma or a pocket watch and try to con you with some kind of power-of-positive-thinking baloney, because we all know that no matter how positive we feel, sometimes the real world doesn’t go along.

The Power I spoke of is not a force that is controllable — you see a guy and you want him, so you turn on your Power and he is inexorably drawn to you, unable to resist. You wouldn’t want that kind of power anyway. I have known women who wanted it, or thought they had it. Eventually they discovered that it didn’t always work, which meant maybe it never had worked, and inevitably they became fixated on the man who did not respond to it, even if they didn’t really want him. They would try more and more ploys, makeup and perfume until bitterness set in, and in their disappointment they would become cynical and unable to see the great guys all around who were naturally attracted to them, without any secret weapon having to be deployed. And yet…

And yet there is a power at work when we mate, whether for a night or a lifetime. I don’t know what it is that makes one woman look different to me than the others, one laugh so infectious, one body in the crowd so irresistible. And maybe she doesn’t, either, but when I fall under her influence I see her face everywhere, I smell her hair, I hear her voice and I long for her touch. Sometimes I feel like I am under a spell, delerious and bipolar. I’m up when she favors me, down when she looks away.

I’m sorry — you can’t use this Power to have any man you want. The Power doesn’t work that way. Not only that, but there is no one Mister Right for you. That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are millions of them. The Power probably lies in being receptive, but not passive. Give yourself a little credit, and go after what you want — you may be surprised to find that he wants you, too. If he doesn’t, please trust me on this, somebody does. And not just some low-grade slightly irregular second choice, but someone fully ready and able to rock your world. You’ll have to take this from me on faith: Somebody does. Really.

He can’t stop thinking about you. He wants to impress you. He’s waiting for a sign from you, maybe a smile. He’ll do anything you ask. And if you look at him with an open heart, he’ll get cuter.

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Valentine’s Day

Your happiness does not depend on being anyone’s “Valentine,” OK?

I remember in the fourth grade it was kind of a competition. Valentine cards were prepared by the box and delivered to classmates on February 14, and the numbers each receieved were openly discussed at recess. I’m not sure what we thought we were doing, why the teacher sanctioned these shenanigans, so obviously exclusionary and non-academic. What were we supposed to learn from this? That it was good to be loved? No, because we never said “I love you.” It was implied, of course — what else does “Be Mine” mean? — but we never said it.

We were keeping our options open, way back then. Just children, not willing to make a choice, knowing instinctively that in our choice we would lose all other choices. What if we picked wrong? We couldn’t see far enough down the road even to know what that would mean, much less how the horrible error could possibly be corrected.

Or could it be that some of us were ready? Ready to make a decision, make a connection, select a partner. Who’s to say that a fourth-grader is any less prepared than the average twenty-year-old bride and groom? If getting older makes us so much smarter, why do most marriages fail?

And what does it mean to fail in your marriage? Of course the ultimate failure must be splitting up, right? My parents did it, and I was traumatized, mostly by the problems of trying to know who I was in the world. Starting at age 12 I had only a mother. This, I thought at the time, made me different from other kids. If only I’d known.

Then Mom and Dad got back together, and that was even weirder. They didn’t remarry, so my self identity became blurrier still. Who was this guy living in our house, and why was this even allowed? They’re not getting married, so are they really together? My own parents conducted their love life like a couple of fourth-graders.

When I was in fourth grade, I thought I had to get Valentine’s cards from all the girls. And I didn’t get them. I want to say “…year after year, I didn’t get them…” but I don’t remember how many years it was, or if it was just one humiliating incident that now seems like a lifetime, lived a lifetime ago, a longing loveless lifetime of no Valentine’s greetings, secret smiles, walks home from school.

I made up the torture for myself. Made it up, sentenced myself to it, and carried out the punishment, cruelly, as a child can do, turning on myself bleakly and tasting the pain. I was crucified for the sins of Cathy S., Sybille G. Mary D., Annette M. and the others who walked on by, talking and laughing, I was sure at me.

The man I have become walks with this little boy’s fear and pain. Sometimes I feel like a cartoon who hides from the threat, the everywhere fear that I won’t measure up, won’t be presented with a piece of paper that makes me real, that stands me up in the eyes of another, the word made flesh, the flesh made holy, blessed at last by your love.

The world is filled with love and beauty. Love that flows into each us from all of us, because no matter how separate, no matter how distant we grow, we only have each other, and we always have each other, all of us, alone together, the billions, the One.

I have burned my cards. I send no letters. And not just for today, but for all of fourth grade, all of our time here, I love you.
Update, February 14, Noon – Turns out I did receive a Valentine card. Here it is:

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The Gift

What if you were tied spreadeagle to the bed?

Not with painful metal handcuffs, of course, or wimpy ribbons, but something substantial. Nylon stockings, tied just right, are inescapable. I’ve been reading you between the lines, and I think you’d allow it. In fact, I think you’d like it. You might play the part of a bad girl, just to get yourself in “trouble.” Or you might just come right out and ask to be tied.

Oh, you might have second thoughts after a wrist or an ankle is secured, and you might try to break free. But your struggles would be half-hearted, wouldn’t they? Because you intend to give this gift, it excites you to offer yourself in this way. You won’t make it easy, but you’ll make it possible.

And then there you’d be, on your back, without your clothes, helpless. You could pull at your bonds, and I’m sure you would, but you’d find them quite sturdy. Still, it would be fun to observe you for a while, trying in vain to escape. I wonder what you’d be thinking then, as you came to the realization that you had lost all control, that whatever was going to happen was going to happen with or without your consent. You might be excited. You might be a little bit apprehensive.

You might be blindfolded.

In the darkness you listen for your lover. Is he still there in the room? You strain to discover what’s going on. You feel the openness of your perfect body, perfectly ready. You lie there in the silence, exposed and vulnerable, a willing slave-girl, a sacramental gift to this one in whom you have placed your trust. Your senses are charged, and it seems like a long time is passing. Suddenly you feel a hand behind your knee, fingers barely brushing flesh. The thrill shoots down to your toes and up to your scalp and you shiver.

Unseen fingers trace ever so lightly up one thigh. A tiny moan escapes you as they pass your crotch, brush across your belly and start down the other thigh. You arch up toward them but they are quickly withdrawn, and you learn again that you are not in charge here. A tug at your bonds reminds you of your helpless position, and you sink back to the bed.

In a moment your submission is rewarded as you feel hot breath on your breast; then a tongue, just the tip, begins slowly to circle a nipple. By instinct you want to reach around to the back of his head and pull his face into you, but your restraints hold your arms wide and above your head. You moan in frustration as your other nipple is teased into hardness. Then both nipples are squeezed between thumb and forefinger, the pressure alternating from one side to the other, back again, almost reaching the threshold of pain, stopping just short.

Your breath is coming shorter now, as you feel your lover climb between your spread legs. He blows gently on your pussy. You whimper. He plants a kiss right on the center of your womanhood and you think Yes! There! Kiss me there! but it is not to be, not yet.

Now his fingertips stroke down your sides, from your shoulders, whispering along your ribs, down to your hips, so softly they might be feathers. You gasp, then moan, as your body betrays you. The fingertips move from the sides of your hips to meet in the middle of your belly, then begin to move lower, stroking through the bush of your dark delta.

You have no movement, you have no light. All your senses focus on what is happening to you down there, and you urgently push upward, toward the probing fingers, but again they are taken away. You cry out and thrash against the ropes, but soon you know that you must relax, that indeed you have given up your power and you must take what comes.

He wants you to beg for it.

And so you beg. You plead touch me, let me have you! You receive little rewards, a kiss behind the ear, a moment of petting on the pussy, a bite on some sensitive part of you, but you must beg for everything. You are eloquent, you are vulgar. You are crying out loud. In time there is a damp sheen on your velvet skin, and you are taut with arousal.

And frustration.

Gradually, more of his attention goes between your legs. For an eternity he plays with you, petting, fondling, spreading, fingering, kissing, licking and when you are almost there, he stops. Again and again you are almost there, and it is taken away from you. Your pleading becomes like the cry of an animal as you struggle for relief. You are driven nearly to frenzy by the sweet torment, until you are laughing and crying and pleading all at the same time.

And finally, when you are insane with lust, he is ready to come inside, to cut you free, to take possession of your gift…

OK, I think we all know how this ends. I don’t have to write it, do I? This is not pornography, people. I see it as more of a literary exploration. Pornography is later.

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I Want You to Want Me.

I need you to need me. I’d love you to love me. I’m begging you to beg me.

I wanted to say something deep about love, because I’ve been reading stuff about it in the blogs I haunt and, hey, I wanted to join in, but I feel like it’s all been said more clearly, more poetically, more philosophically and even more cynically than I can say it. I’ve tried to think of some new twist I can use to pin a definition once and for all on this crazy thing we call love, but none come to mind. Or maybe I just don’t care. Nah, that can’t be it. We’re all looking for love, aren’t we? Certainly they are in books and movies, and finding it, too, although it don’t always come easy, even for the ruggedly handsome and the terminally pretty.

So maybe I do care. You know, about love. Just not about defining love. It’s a powerful force, I won’t argue, but when you get all over it and try to explain it, maybe it’s possible to break it, or spoil it or something. If you could define it, maybe the familiarity would breed contempt. Wouldn’t want that. Anyway, I’m not an expert, but I think I know how it feels, and that’s good enough for me.

Not an expert? Get a load of this: It turns out that the greatest love of my life didn’t know I had the hots for her for three years. How stupid was I? What the hell was I thinking? Did I expect her to send me an engraved invitation?

You are cordially invited to put your arms around me
at your earliest convenience,
to slide your hands under my waistband in the back,
to caress my butt and reach down slowly
along the crack of my ass
until you can feel the wet between my legs.
A reception will be held between those legs
immediately following the deep soul-kissing,
the hot breath on my neck,
the biting of my nipples,
the licking of my belly
and the sensuous, deep tonguing of my pussy.
Festivities will include
cunt licking,
hard pumping,
laughing and crying.

Not approaching her at a party could be put down to shyness. Letting it go on for three years — well, somebody must have been one taco short of a combination plate. Luckily the curse was removed, finally, when I got her into my apartment one night, made charming conversation for, oh, I don’t know, way too long, and finally led her to the bedroom. To my surprise, she came along readily, and I had my way with her for what was left of that holy night.Must have been love.
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Pigs and Pussies (Bang Bang, Part 2)

Last time I tried this I didn’t solve anything.

The Mystery Dance

I started out trying to explain why a person you’ve just met would go out of his/her way to tell you they are not available, that they are taken, that they are not in the market. This led to my confession that I always took this kind of thing as a personal attack, which got me thinking that maybe I see a lot of women as possible sex partners, and so of course they want to shoot me down, although now I can’t see the logic in this thinking.

Anyway, it should come as no surprise that others are wondering about these and related issues, which can be summed up as

The Mystery Dance: What guidelines can we use
to understand The Game of Love?
How can we tell if the object of our lust is similarly interested in us?

This is so important that if you knew the answer, you could — dare we say it? — rule the fucking world. At least I’m pretty sure I could. Evidently the studliest warrior and the ringin’est belle are not much more enlightened on this subject than anyone else. They may be getting it more than most of us (or, actually, they may not), but they still don’t have a clue how the system works.

I noticed that there’s a guy named Dallas who has a crude theory that he uses to explain everyone’s behavior. His theory is that we all automatically put everyone we meet into a hierarchy of fuckability. All of us do this. To everyone we meet. He states his case in a mildly amusing way, but he’s wrong, of course. Go read about it. Go now, if you like. I’ll wait. Warning: This theory is a little bitter.
Dallas has created an elaborate web site to explain his theory, and give him a hand for all his work. If you don’t want to read all 12 pages of it for yourself, here’s what he says: When a man meets a woman, he subconsciously decides how much he wants to have sex with her, and places her on a rung of his “ladder” in a position corresponding to his desire for her. He’s always looking to get it on with someone as high up on his ladder as possible, and will drop someone lower if someone higher enters his life or becomes available. Women do the same, only they have two ladders. The second one is for guys they like but will never fuck — the “friends” ladder.

Everyone does this, and they make their judgements based on the, er, basest of criteria. Men go almost entirely for physical hotness and sexual availability, and women are looking mainly for guys with a lot of money, although hotness counts somewhat. Oh yeah: anyone who says they are looking for intellectual stimulation, good sense of humor, stability, etc. is just flat out lying.

Personally I think this is kind of a scary way to look at what is, essentially, Life, and I instinctively back away from it. I have jokingly said here that all men are pigs (or maybe someone else said it?), and in a way that statement kind of helps to understand The Dance. It brushes aside nuance and lets us focus on the fundamentals, so we can cope with what’s happening. But I hope no one thinks I really believe there is no nuance or free will in our interactions. I don’t know if there is a sure-fire way to know what that cutie-pie across the room might be thinking about you. You have to try to turn off the filters, let the truth flow into you, and then you have to act on what you think. The chance that you might be wrong is where the excitement comes from. And maybe the hope that you might be right is the reason for living.

Looking at Dallas’ web site, I can see that Dallas (and maybe a few friends), over many cocktails, had a lot of fun putting his ladder theory together and coming up with examples of how it works in real life. But just because you have diagrams, graphs and charts does not make your premise true, especially if the research that generated the graphs comes from one guy’s opinions. I think he should stop theorizing pretty soon, and go out and find a girl.

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Bang Bang, She Shot Me Down

I may be frisky and flirtatious, BUT I’M TAKEN!

I was reading tonight in the blog of, that’s right, a 30-year-old woman about how she met this other woman who let it be known that she was of the lesbian persuasion. No problem, except that the new girl repeatedly brought up the fact that she was not available, as in “I already have a girlfriend.” One of the comments on this blog (Blogger and Commenter — you know who you are) touched a nerve that I have had exposed for most of my life and that can be summed up as “Waaah! Why are you telling me this? Are you trying to hurt me or ‘get’ me in some way? Are you trying to one-up me or something? Am I such a rotten companion that you don’t even want me to make a try for you?”

To put it another way, it’s all about me.

Yes, I’m that sensitive about my own feelings, and that insensitive to yours. Hey, once you break down and admit you love me (you know you want to), that’s different. Then I am totally in touch with my gentle, poetic side. But in normal social situations, keep your boyfriends or girlfriends to yourself.

Examining this syndrome to a depth that I have never bothered to do before, I see that it is another example of my insecurity and lack of confidence. I mean, maybe I am talking to someone who is exuberant about her loving, committed relationship, and she is merely trying to share her joy with the world, including me. Why would I immediately have to get defensive about it?

The fact that I usually think the “I’m not available” remark, however it’s expressed, is a jab AT me also suggests that I view a LOT of women as potential — say it with me — sexual partners. Maybe I do. Maybe it’s more obvious than I thought it was. I no longer look directly at the breasts when addressing a woman, and I feel like I’m being a gentleman, and I quit that pubic-hair-on-the-coke-can routine right after the Clarence Thomas hearings. But, hey — boys will be boys, and they will be IN YOUR PANTS, girls, if they can. So that’s it: I feel busted, and guilty. As polite as I tried to be, I had filthy intentions, you saw through them and DERAILED MY TRAIN. Caught red-handed trying to follow God’s Plan. Oh, the shame. But I’m feeling better already, having confessed.

You know who I admire? The guys who see all women as potential sexual partners, win some and lose some, and don’t get too fucking mental about it, like I just did. I don’t understand women (You’ve never heard that before, eh?). They have a million ways of shooting you down. I should know by now that I don’t have to make up new ones of my own.

Note to the blogger who got me started on this track: Yowzah! You must be some hot mama! You even make the girls nervous.

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I Wish

This is the time of year when we wish for things, and the wishing is its own reward.

I remember wanting and wishing as a kid for some new toy at Christmas, whatever was on my mind that year. I was a weird kid, not like other kids, so the stuff was off-beat, but just as useless, really, as the stuff all the other kids were wishing for, only in different ways. Sometimes I got what I thought I wanted, sometimes not. In the end what I really wanted was warmth and love, my mother’s touch, my father’s smile, a sense of belonging…

Hey, is this getting a little sacharine? Yeah, it is. Thanks for stopping me. Now I’m grown up, I know what’s important, and there’s only one thing I want now: A DATE WITH GWYNETH PALTROW. I’ve been asking for this for quite a few years now, and so far, nothing. It would have been better to hook up with her when I first wanted to, because she wasn’t as famous then, and she would have had more time for me.

But even now I believe Gwyneth and I were meant to go out to a dark coffee house together, and sit across a tiny table lit by one flickering candle and talk all night about subjects big and small, our knees bumping gently under the table, both of us super-aware of that electricity, the room vanishing around us, Gwyneth gazing shyly at me, her casual touch raising the hairs on my arm. We would be amazed at the thoughts we had in common, the feelings we shared unknowingly. We would finish each other’s sentences and laugh and laugh at it all, and all the sad years we had not been together would melt away and we’d have known each other forever.

At midnight or later, much later, we would close the place and drive to the beach, where we would walk together in the moonlight, first on the boardwalk, then out onto the sand, then wading into the shallow waves, our shoes tossed aside and our pant legs getting wet, the silver moon shimmering all around us on the water. I would touch her hip and she would lean in to my body, her golden hair dusting my neck, pulling my arm around her waist, that electric touch jolting us both again, this is how it has always been and how it always will be, the shyness gone, turning in to one another, straining together, her feet off the ground now, her eager long legs curled all the way around mine and ankles locked together, her butt in my hands, our two breaths mingling, lips brushing once, brushing twice, the tip of a tongue, two open mouths, a moan in the moonlight, urgent now, I can walk with her weightless on me, each step a little bump, a little thrust, now down on the sand, unbuttoning, unbuckling, skin seeking skin, belly to belly, thigh to thigh, no way to be closer, moving together, how it always has been, how it always will be…

I am ready for this, even though I know it can’t work out. We come from different worlds, and we must return to them. There might be a weekend in it, then a few awkward phone calls, maybe a final lunch date at a crowded Musso and Frank’s, each of us with far away thoughts.

Still, I wait for my moment, my golden glimpse of heaven. Email me, Gwyneth…

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